Friday, March 31, 2023

3 Players Who Need To Make It Count Next Season At Arsenal

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

The 2016/17 season of Premier League looms over the horizon and after ending last season as the runners-up, Arsenal would be desperate to take the extra step and claim the title finally after 13 years. There are some players in the Arsenal squad who need to make sure that they have a great season in order to save their careers at the North London club.

The patience, on the performances of those players, are absolutely on the brink and with the manager also under huge pressure to perform another failure, it could spell the end for not only the players but also the club’s longest-serving manager. Let’s take a look at those 3 players who needs to make it big next season.

Theo Walcott

Walcott is perhaps the most infuriating player to watch in an Arsenal shirt. Theo has been at the club since 2006 and is now one of the longest-serving players at the club. He came to Arsenal when he was just 17 and showed great promise. One of the fastest players in world football, Walcott has great quality but is very inconsistent. Over the years, the player now 27, has definitely developed himself but not to the level he needed to or could have.

The Englishman has scored 85 goals for the Gunners and is one of the best finishers at the club, but he is not suited at all as a striker. The devastating pace he has is best utilised on the flanks but more often than not his final ball lets him down. The most disappointing part of it all was that after he scored 10 goals and assisted 14 in the 2012/13 season, his progression has been hampered by injuries and inconsistencies. There’s no denying the fact that Walcott, a personal favourite of mine as well as the manager, can be the x-factor of the squad if he plays to his full potential and next season is perhaps his last chance to show that he can actually do it rather than remaining as a player who has potential but cannot perform consistently when the team needs him the most.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Another player very similar to Walcott, in terms of being the underachiever whose progression has been bogged down by injuries. Just like Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain was snapped up from Southampton when he was a teenager. A product of the Saints academy, Chamberlain has excellent built, stamina and close control and is also an excellent crosser of the ball but when he gets on to the pitch he usually turns out to be the most disappointing player for the team, losing possession on numerous occasions, not providing defensive cover or simply wasting opportunities trying to do too much on his own.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 14: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Arsenal takes on Danny Drinkwater of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 14: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Arsenal takes on Danny Drinkwater of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The Ox in his five years at Arsenal has only managed to score 10 goals and provide 10 assists which is hardly the performance or output of a player with potential and next season will be his last chance of proving everyone that he is not another stereotypical English player with great potential but little to show for in terms of results.

Gabriel Paulista

The Brazilian centre-back was brought in from La Liga outfit Villarreal last year in a bid to bolster the defence. Securing his signature was a bit complicated as the player had difficulties to get a work permit as he never played for his National team. Arsene Wenger finally secured the permit on the basis of convincing the approval committee that Gabriel was an outstanding talent, something which raised the eyebrows of the fans and immediately put the player under heavy scrutiny.

On his first full start in the Premier League, the defender saved his manager the ignominy by executing a goal-saving tackle on Romelu Lukaku which had a bearing on the score line of the match as Arsenal won by a 2-0 score line. However, the defender couldn’t inspire confidence in his later appearances and looked shaky and uncomfortable whenever he played from then on.

The inability to speak and understand English is definitely one of the reasons behind his confusion on the field and even Wenger remarked that Gabriel must do everything to learn the language and solve the problem before the next season starts. Gabriel must learn to communicate better by learning the language and would also need to eradicate the tendency of diving into tackles to start with and after learning good English the actual ability and performances of the player can be judged more fairly. The fans though are impatient and with the defence being an Achilles heel for a decade now, he has only next season to prove that he is up for the challenge to partner Koscielny successfully against the top oppositions.

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